Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki
The United States Agency for International Development [USAID] has said it has saved a total of 1,938 babies out of 2,029 which were not breathing at birth in Ebonyi and Kogi States.
It also said that 25,000 pregnancies have been averted in both states following the family planning campaigns it launched in the states which saw significant increment on family planning from 5 percent in 2016 to 42 percent in 2018.
These were contained in a paper presented by the Country Director/Chief of Party, Mother and Child Survival Programme (MCSP), Dr Adetiloye Oniyire, during the Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (MNCH) Core Technical Committee (CTC) meeting held at Akanu Ibiam International Conference Centre, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.
Oniyire further disclosed that 862 proprietary and patent medicine vendors were empowered to access, classify, and treat uncomplicated childhood illnesses in their communities; initiated 233 facilities for post-partum family planning services and counselled 65 women.
She added that it established 91 health facilities to facilitate quality improvement teams and processes which reduced death from pregnancy complications.
This was even as the agency has urged governments of both states to scale-up the gains of the interventions and show serious political will to drive the process especially as it winds up its activities in both states.
USAID emphasized that scaling up the gains of the interventions across the states was a critical step that should be prioritized.
MCSP was a health intervention launched four years ago by USAID in Ebonyi and Kogi where indices of maternal and new born deaths were on the red scale and would officially come to an end by December 2018.
It said over 3,800 health workers across 321 health facilities were empowered with skills to provide quality life-saving maternal, new born, and child care in Ebonyi and Kogi states through the programme.
It added that health facilities reporting routine data for monitoring increased from 53 percent to 86 percent in Ebonyi and 65 percent to 70 percent in Kogi; 539 women and 315 children in emergency situations transported to health facilities by emergency transport scheme volunteer drivers.
In addition, 70 mothers’ savings and loan clubs serving over 2,000 rural women were established and over N5 million contributed for health and livelihood needs among other numerous successes recorded.
The paper read: “It is assuring that key stakeholders like healthcare workers, federal and states Ministries of Health officials, professional associations, and proprietary and patent medicine vendors have already been engaged to serve as effective champions, advocates, mentors and trainers.
“It is important that state actors show serious political will to drive the process of scaling up these gains and communities should continue to demand quality services in order to achieve the goal of reducing maternal and child deaths in the states”, it said.
Ebonyi State MCSP Focal Person, Dr Boniface Onwe, in an interview with Journalists explained that the programme has achieved a lot in the state and implored the state governments to take it up since USAID was rounding off in order to sustain its gains.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Daniel Umezurike, in his remarks assured that the state government would not relent in giving the state’s health sector the needed attention in order to improve quality healthcare service delivery to the people.